Vanessa the green sea serpent basks in the sun from Memorial Day to Labor Day in a shallow pond off Beach Road. In the past three decades, she has had babies, nearly drowned in Hurricane Bob and posed for countless photos. And this summer, she has a book.
On the day Jennifer Tseng’s daughter was born, her father called her at the hospital. He called to congratulate her, but also to tell her he was having health problems which at the time were unknown. The illness turned out to be terminal cancer.
Red Flower, White Flower is Ms. Tseng’s first book of poetry since that phone call. In it she looks at the intersection between the extreme emotions that came in the years after her daughter’s birth, and the ways that these emotions converge.